Thursday, December 29, 2005


Press release from the department of the bleeding obvious
Smokers have less money than non-smokers. How much less is equal to how much they spend on smoking.
Ohio State University

ref: METRO

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

The Ice Box

Managed to get into work this morning, even though the trains were disrupted due to the heavy snowfall overnight. Am now sitting in my office with my over-coat on as it is freezing due to the heating not working in the building.

Friday, December 23, 2005

Opera Purchase Rumour Control

We've had several submissions this morning concerning a CoolTechZone article stating that Microsoft has purchased Opera, seemingly confirming the Dvorak article we reported on yesterday. However, roblimo has followed up with Opera and found that to be (so far), less than true. Opera PR person Berit Hanson told Slashdot by phone from Oslo, Norway, that "last week it was Google, this week it's Microsoft." She laughed and added, "If I was working for Microsoft I think I'd know it, but I'm still in Oslo, not Washington, still working for Opera." Which, of course, is not to say it won't happen ... it just hasn't happened yet.
ref: Slashdot

M254: TMA 02

Had my result back this morning for TMA 02. Managed to get 65 out of 65. Really pleased. Now onto TMA 03.

Microsoft Buys Out Opera

(Insider Report) - Here comes a surprise. In a recent conversation with one of our insiders at Microsoft, the source revealed that Microsoft Corp., the world’s largest software maker, has acquired Opera Software, makers of the Opera browser. The insider reported that both Microsoft and Google were trying to bid on Opera, but in the end, the software maker took the lead.
For the full story goto CoolTechZone

Thursday, December 22, 2005

M254: TMA's 03 & 04

TMA's 03 and 04 have been published on the M254 course website. TMA 03 has 4 questions, and covers units 4 and 5. TMA 04 has 5 questions and covers units 6 to 9.

I have had a brief look through the TMA's and TMA 04 looks rather hairy. Still we have until the 18th May 2006 to submit it (TMA 03 has a cut-off date of 23rd Feb 2006).


Press release from the department of the bleeding obvious
Dinosaurs could not possibly still exist on a tiny island, neither could King Kong.
Duke University, Carolina

ref: METRO

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

The Cost Of Toys

This picture story from the BBC has some interest facts concerning toy making within China.
China now produces 70% of the world’s toys, ...

Most we spoke to seemed reasonably content with factory conditions.

However, campaign group China Labor Watch found that “excessive work hours, dangerous equipment and chemicals, cramped employee dormitories, abusive managers, crooked hiring practices, and pay below even China’s minimum wage” of 690 yuan ($86; £49) per month were all too common in 11 other toy factories it studied.

Monday, December 19, 2005


Margot Wallstrom, Vice-President of the European Commission, has made an interesting comment in her blog.
Corporate Responsibility

Thank you for your comments on Janez‘ post, please continue to comment on it. I will write about my trip to Germany next week but first I wanted to say something else.

I hoped for snow during my trip to Berlin and then we got plenty of snow in Brussels last weekend. As usual, it caused chaos and anarchy on the streets. But that was, unfortunately, not all. I heard from a friend that two people froze to death in Brussels. One in front of a church (heated but locked) and one in front of a hospital.

Stories like this always hit me hard, no matter where they happen. To eliminate poverty and social exclusion is on my agenda for global political action. So is freedom and democracy. And I was very disappointed to learn that Microsoft has agreed to block Chinese blog entries that use words like “democracy“, “freedom“, “human rights“ and “demonstration.”

Margot Wallström taking part in an online chat

It seems like Microsoft is not alone in “bad company“. Google has agreed to exclude publications that the Chinese government finds objectionable. And Yahoo has even gone further. They collaborated with the Chinese government and gave up the name of a writer who sent an e-mail that commented on a party decision. Based on this information, the man received a ten-year prison sentence.

According to the organisation Human Rights Watch these companies are hiding behind statements claiming that they “have to ensure that they operate within the laws, regulations and customs of the countries they are based in”.

Words like ethics and corporate social responsibility seems to be deleted from their corporate code of conducts – or they have flexible ethical standards depending on where they operate… I can only recommend these companies to visit the website of the UN Global Compact at And, hope that these companies one day will understand that to endorse democracy and corporate responsibility is a prerequisite for “smart” growth. From now on, this issue is also on my political agenda.

China's record on human rights is well known, and yet the US allows it's companies to do business there. Money certainly speaks louder than words.

ref: Margot Wallstrom's blog

timbl's blogging

Sir Tim Berners-Lee is now keeping a blog...

In 1989 one of the main objectives of the WWW was to be a space for sharing information. It seemed evident that it should be a space in which anyone could be creative, to which anyone could contribute. The first browser was actually a browser/editor, which allowed one to edit any page, and save it back to the web if one had access rights.

Strangely enough, the web took off very much as a publishing medium, in which people edited offline. Bizarely, they were prepared to edit the funny angle brackets of HTML source, and didn't demand a what you see is what you get editor. WWW was soon full of lots of interesting stuff, but not a space for communal design, for discource through communal authorship.

Now in 2005, we have blogs and wikis, and the fact that they are so popular makes me feel I wasn't crazy to think people needed a creative space.

ref: timbl's blog

Sunday, December 18, 2005

M301: Course Material

The course material arrived today and below is a breakdown of what I received.
  • 3 x block books
    • Block 1 - Introduction toJava
    • Block 2 - Concurrency 1
    • Block 3 - Concurrency 2
  • 2 x course books
    • Object-Oriented Programming with Java
    • Concurrent Systems
  • Assessment Handbook 2005-06
  • Copyright Notice
  • Course Guide
  • Glossary
  • Guide to Electronic Tutoring
  • Handbook 1 (IDE)
  • Using the Electronic TMA System - A Student Guide
  • Chairs Letter 06
  • Errata 1 06
  • JBuilder 4 Foundation
  • M301 CD1
  • Online Application CD-RomP559 v.7

This is only the first part of the supplied course material. The second part has a scehduled mailing date of 05.May.06 and is supposed to contain block books 4 - 6.

Friday, December 16, 2005

Fat Penguins - Update

The BBC has a streaming video of the penguins doing their exercise.

M206: I Passed !!!

Got home from work last night to find that the results for M206 had been published.  After the exam I was expecting to get a Grade 2 and hoping for a Grade 1 (Distiniction), as we all agreed that the exam was bl**dy hard.  Well I couldn't believe my eyes when I saw the result.  I got a Distinction! And to top it all I didn't just scap it, I got 95%.

I am well chuffed.

Fat Birds Take A Walk

For all you penguin lovers out there...
Japan zoo walks portly penguins
Penguins taken for a walk at Asahiyama Zoo (Credit: Asahiyama Zoo)
The walks last about 30 minutes
Penguins at a zoo in northern Japan have been taken on their first walk of the season in an attempt to keep them trim during the winter.
ref: BBC News

Thursday, December 15, 2005

M206: Still No Results

Middle of December and the exam results for M206 have still not been released, even though the results for a number of other course have been.  It is starting to get very stressful, this waiting!